USDA Offers New Rural Energy Efficiency Grants and Loan Guarantees

May 16, 2014
Rural energy efficiency grants and loans guarantees are now available through the US Department of Agriculture for small rural businesses and agricultural producers.

Rural energy efficiency grants and loans guarantees are now available through the US Department of Agriculture for small rural businesses and agricultural producers.

In all, the USDA is offering $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loans for both energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through this solicitation.

The USDA is accepting applications for:

  • Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantee and grant combinations
  • Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantees
  • Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants.

Requests for grants may not exceed 25 percent of a project’s cost – either for stand-alone grant requests or for grants combined with loan guarantees.

The deadline to apply is July 7 for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications.

The USDA will take applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications on a continuous basis up to July 31, 2014.

The funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Created by the 2008 Farm Bill, REAP was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has supported more than 8,200 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. During this period, USDA has provided more than $264 million in grants and $212 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners.

“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This funding will help farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations, create jobs and help America become more energy independent. When small rural businesses and farmers cut their energy costs with cleaner and more efficient energy, we are both helping their bottom lines and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.”

For information contact Kelley Oehler, branch chief, USDA Rural Development, Energy Division, (202) 720–6819. kelley.oehler@ wdc.usda.gov. For state information contact your state USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator.

A detailed solicitation notice is available in the Federal Registry.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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